Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 8 - Foundation Walls Poured

Today's activity consisted of completing the setup of the foundation forms and pouring the concrete, in the pouring rain I might add.  I do not know if the rain will have any effect on the structure or strength of the walls.  I'll have to ask the PM.  Let's hope it doesn't.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to catch the action of the complete setup.  I really wish I had!  I am concerned the egress and basement windows are in the wrong location.  I trust my PM was on the ball though and they are right where they are supposed to be.  I can hardly wait for the forms to come off just so I can verify they're where they should be.  I am OCD.  There's also some non-standard stuff going on with the garage but I'll post more about that another day once I have confirmed I understand it correctly.

I am still very extremely uneasy about our grading.  It's very obvious to me now that a patio isn't going to be possible without some serious stairs coming out of the morning room door, which is a HUGE problem for our family as some of us have vision problems. 

Livingroom and Garage
Not sure what the white things are - the truck was stuck good!
The truck was about a foot from sliding into the newly filled forms

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 7 - Gravel & Forms

Today's activity consisted of gravel, sump pump pit, and the foundation forms delivery.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

House on the Corner - Venice - Elevation M

Remember this house?  It's on the opposite corner to us.
Here it is now, almost finished - The Venice - Elevation M.
Remember this house?  I first mentioned it here.  It's huge and it's beautiful!  I am so jealous!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 5 - Footer

We got a foundation footer today and it's been approved on the county's permit website.   The house looks so very small right now.

"A foundation footer is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of the house. The primary purpose of the footer is to spread out the weight of the structure across a larger footprint than the foundation would if it were in direct contact with the earth.  If you were to calculate the total weight of a completed house plus everything in it, you'd probably be stunned by the total tonnage. Just the interior furnishings and possessions in an average home can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Add this to the many tons of weight of the building materials and you end up with enormous concentrated loads. Without a footer under a foundation wall, the wall could actually start to slice into soil much like a knife cuts into a stick of butter.  But a footer, because it's wider than the foundation wall, displaces this weight over a much larger area. A footer also creates a nice, level surface for the foundation contractor to set his forms."

From right side yard
Garage footer portion

Porch footer portion - Front yard
I often see garbage on other blogs that's left behind. Shameful.
From left side yard
Best picture I could get of the entire thing

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 1 - Breaking Ground

We broke ground today.  I was extremely nervous.  I didn't sleep well at all last night.  I kept having nightmares about the house and lot.  I'm not sure this is fun anymore.  I am hoping that with Ryan Homes help we can get back to where this was the house of our dreams.  Fingers crossed.  Day 1 - Digging - We have a hole. :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lot & Grading Review

I've probably re-written this blog entry 6 times already.  I've postponed posting for days.  I can't seem to put into words the frustration I have felt over the last few days without seeming to be completely negative.

When we signed our Purchase Agreement we were under the impression that the lot offered to us through the Home of the Month would be graded relatively flat.  That was a huge deciding factor for us.  Our priority list consisted mostly of the ease-ability of our home.  We didn't care what the outside of our house looked like as much as how much work would be needed to manage the yard, the size, and the usability of it.  We didn't care so much that we didn't end up with the initial model we wanted because we would be able to finish a portion of the house we initially thought we wouldn't be able to afford.  Up until the Pre-Construction meeting we were given the impression that this home fit into our dream home.  We budgeted based on the impressions we were given.  To find out the day before ground breaking that one corner of our lot was nearly 5 feet or more higher than the other and that we would not have a lot close to flat was shocking.
APEX Survey
Our Concerns:
Initial impressions given were to a flat lot
Unmanageable severe sloping grade in the rear and side of house
Unmanageable sloshy swales after rain in the rear and side of house
Planned concrete patio off morning room

On Tuesday morning I met with the SR, PM, the Sales Manager, and the General Manager with Ryan Homes on the lot.  I expressed my concerns with the grading of the lot.  I didn't believe that we could manage the slope of the lot nor did we want the proposed swales that we were going to need in order to drain the water that appears to flow from all of the surrounding area to our lot.

They all tried their best to re-explain the grading of the lot.  The issue, however, was not that I misunderstood the information that was given to us during the Pre-Contruction meeting, but that it was never even hinted that we would need the lot graded in the manner they were describing.  I found it almost unacceptable.  The image I had in my head dashed away.  It was quite emotional for me.

They explained again and I again assured them I understood what they were saying.  There was a suggestion made that a retaining wall could be built in order to level out the lot.  I said we would consider it but that had it's very own concerns like it being half way between the house and the property, essentially cutting the usable space in half.  It would be 5 feet at it highest point, which doesn't seem appealing to be half way between the house and property line.  Ug.

When it came down to deciding... and there was a LOT of debate.  Some of it quite heart wrenching.  We sided on the lessor of the 2 evils.  I'm still suffering a huge disappointment with the lot.  We have to re-plan and try to budget in a deck now I believe since the yard will have such a height difference from one side to the other, but I will revisit that with the PM.  We are adjusting to the new image and hopefully we'll soon be ok with it.  I'm looking forward to seeing the big popsicle sticks turning into a house, trying not to let the disappointment take away from my dream house.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lot Grading Unhappiness

I am so extremely unhappy.  I've been close to tears for days.  I'm just waiting for the flood gates to open.  I'm so disappointed that I can't even talk about it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pre-Construction Meeting

We had our Pre-Construction meeting Friday.  Most of it was good, although we're concerned about our lot and grading, until we make sure we understand what's happening, I'm trying not to let it get me too worked up.  I'll talk more about in another entry after I talk to the SR and PM again.

We got to sit down with the SR, PM, and I believe another PM that was just observing.  It took approximately 2 hours from start to finish.  Our PM Kevin has many years of experience building homes under his belt and and we feel confident things will go well once we get started.

To prepare myself I took all of my questions and some other items from other bloggers that I thought might be important for us to ask about our home and combined them into a simple document I brought with me.

The first item we covered was the placement of the house on the lot.  This was all shown on the APEX survey.  This is where our concerns began.  Our home is going to be very close to the neighbor. It's like 15 feet, with a slightly closer set in one corner of the home.  The reason we're so close, I believe, is because of the additional driveway and lot grading issues.

After covering where all the utilities will come into the house we moved onto the basic house materials and option selections.  This went pretty smoothly as I know what we selected by heart!  The documents didn't have the most recent selections and were missing only 1 item that we'll have to submit one more change order.

We're set to break ground Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday May 21 - 23, depending on conditions.  The approximate walk through will be scheduled between August 6 - 8.  We're beginning to get very excited!

You can view my Pre-Construction Question List and answers here: Our Tips & Questions to Ask
This will be the view from the front window/door with the corner of a yet to be built house on the right
This will be the view from the morning room/my bedroom

Thursday, May 16, 2013

NVR Mortgage Update #5 Guess what...

Chicken Butt...............

Just kidding!  After a bit of prompting through an e-mail on our part to NVRM, a small freak out about some inaccurate numbering and change order information, and reassurance from the LO that we are in fact fine, we've been approved!

I am so freaking relieved!  This calls for a celebration!

There will be a full detailed blog entry/page about our NVRM experience and review after the process is complete and we've closed....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NVR Mortgage Update #4

It's been about 20 days since we've heard from NVR Mortgage.  I have to say that's pretty discouraging.  I'm worried. :-S  I've been constantly encouraged by our SR but how can someone not be concerned?  No news is good news.  Say it with me.  No news is good news.  Right?

***  Update ***

I sent an e-mail to NVR asking for an update and some questions regarding the loan.

And it begins...

I drove by our rectangular shaped emptiness of dirt on Monday to find some exciting stuff!
Are those big Popsicle sticks growing out of the ground?
There is activity on our lot - FINALLY!!!
It's hard to picture a house here after looking at dirt for months

We've been staked!  Through the heart baby!  With Giant Popsicle sticks!
It looks like the house will hog the whole lot, now I'm even more worried about our lot selection than I was before
Then on Tuesday I swung by to pick up some paper work and holy cow - we have more than sticks even!
An egress window and well - SWEET!
I am so pleased we've already started our deliveries and we haven't even broken ground!  Maybe this is a sign of good and speedy things to come.

I'm growing so very excited.  I can hardly sleep.  But this may also be because of concerns about our choices.  I wonder - does everyone go through this concern? :-S

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Furnishing Our Home - Window Shopping

We spent the afternoon window shopping for furniture.  The amount of furniture, appliances, and accessories we're going to need is a bit overwhelming.  We went in with the mindset that our new furniture would jump out at us.  Wow, furniture is NOT cheap.  We hit up 4 places today.  That was about all our legs could handle.  Between walking up and down every aisle on the very long concrete show rooms floors to the sitting down and getting up a BILLION times.  Our poor knees!  Some of these sofas sucked you in.  It was like it vacuum suctioned in your hineey.  We checked out Ashley, Morris, Morris Outlet, and Valley City Furniture.  Only a few things really got me excited.  Everything else just seemed like furniture.  I didn't like ANY of the dining tables.  Not a single one.  That is going to be the tough item to select I think.

We may try more stores tomorrow.  There are still many, many more places to look.  Sigh.

The rooms/items we need to furnish:

Friday, May 10, 2013

We Scheduled Our Pre-Construction Meeting!

Finally, I feel like we're making some progress!  We've scheduled our Pre-Construction meeting for Friday, May 17 @ 12 p.m.  I can hardly contain my excitement!!!

Now to polish my spreadsheet of options, questions, and floor plan.  I wonder if our PM will end up hating me as much as our SR does.  :(

I have so much to ask.  I feel guilt.  Then I talk myself out of the guilt, after all this is OUR home.   We're paying for it and living in it and we want to know everything about it.  We want everything to be right and to our selections.  Isn't that the whole point?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Added Our New House to Google Maps - All the Easier for Stalkers to Find Me!

Isn't it funny how that's exciting to me?  I got to tag an address into Google!  One that was not there before!  I know there is no house there officially, but I wanted to make sure I was the one to do it.  This is probably the only time in my life I get to do such a thing.  Am I the only crazy, obsessive person here to do this?
We have a bubble marker for our address!  Next stop - hopefully a structure! 
I think this might also be helpful for those wonderful After Close items we have to rush to get done for furniture deliveries, utilites, etc! The drivers will be able to find our house on a GPS/map! :)

If you haven't done it and want to do it, I've included the instructions below.  You'll be asked a bit of information and your e-mail address to verify your request - and voila - your bubble will appear and shortly after you'll get a notice that Google has approved your request and added the new address.

To edit Google Maps in Map Maker:
  1. Open
  2. Click the Edit in Map Maker button in the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Click Add New or Edit. Make your edits, then click Save when finished.

Possible Flooring Changes - Maybe - Help - Opinions Needed!

I had a follow-up appointment with Rite Rug today and learned SO much more than my initial appointment.  Even though it was a quick appointment to look at upgrading our initial selections I knew what to ask this time - thank you fellow bloggers!

I will add some questions to ask for your flooring reps for those just starting out to one of my tabs a bit later... for now the nagging question is........ GAH, should we go ahead and change the floors?  We're looking at upgrading from the basic laminate and resilient flooring (bathrooms) we've selected to either the next level of laminate and resilient (bathrooms) or to hardwood floors for the entire main floor.

Our current situation is I have older children (closer to out than in lol), no immediate plans to add to our family, we have 1 dog currently.  The thing about planning is you can't really plan for life can you?  So our situation immediately may not be our situation in a few years, know what I mean?

The Pros and Cons:

As far as pricing, I've included the difference in cost from our current selection to upgraded options below:
Laminate B: 1575
Wood A: 2125
Wood B: 3525
Resilient A: -1990
Resilient B: -1415
Resilient C: -920

Surprising there was a obvious difference in level A laminate to B.  Not only in plank width but the photos used.

Current Laminate Selection - 8in planks - nonglossy
Upgraded Laminate Selection - 4in planks - glossy

Upgrade 2 wood - 3 1/4 in

Upgrade 2 wood - 3 1/4 in

I need help!!  I can't decide.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ryan Homes Blog | Bedrooms to Backyards

Ryan Homes has a blog!  Ryan Homes Blog | Bedrooms to Backyards  Yup, they sure do.  Some helpful information, not just about home buying but also home maintenance, budgeting, credit repair, decorating, landscaping, and more.  Although I don't feel like the articles are overly informative, they do give you somewhere to start in just about every category.  Having a starting point when you're considering such a huge decision is price-less.

I wish that I would have been referred to the blog when I first visited a Ryan Homes model.  It would have been helpful to peek into the wide world of Ryan Homes.  Definitely this article would have been helpful: How to Choose the Not-Yet-Built Home.

This one is helpful to those of us who are wondering what's next or what's taking so long: Building a New Home.

It was fun to look through and I bookmarked a few things.  Some of the items are tailored, obviously, to Ryan Homes and building with them but some of the information is general and can be applied to the building process, home buying, home financing, and home maintenance of any home.

Just thought I'd share with those just considering Ryan Homes or home building.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why yes, I am stalking your blog!

It's true, I admit it.  I'm ashamed.  I'm stalking your blog!  What else do I have to do?  It's likely a month or maybe even more until we break ground.  SO, I will stalk your blog.  I will eye every step of your homes progress.  Creepy?  Yeah, probably and I'm sorry!  I'm also stalking my new neighborhood.  They need to gate my community just to keep me out.  I wonder if RH offers any treatment for my ailment.  I'm pretty sure I'm obsessed.  I may possibly be borderline OCD. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I've got nothin...

Nothin... I've got nothin... Sigh.  Depressing.  No stakes, no hole.  Not even a scheduled per-construction meeting.  :(  I don't like this part... it was all hurry up and now it's nothin but waitin.  Everyone else is moving forward.  Ug.